Movie Review

The Son of God

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens Family
Genre:
Bible Biography History Drama
Length:
2 hr. 18 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
February 28, 2014 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: June 3, 2014
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Who is the real Jesus Christ?

What does the title Son of God mean?

Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer

If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer

Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer

Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer

If Jesus was the Son of God, why did He call Himself the Son of Man? Answer

TRINITY—How can one God be three persons? Answer

JESUS’ CHARACTER—Is Christ’s character consistent with his high claims? Answer

Could Christ have sinned? Answer

Archaeology

ARCHAEOLOGY—Have any burial sites been found for the people involved in Christ’s life and death? Answer

crucifixion

The Biblical record

How do we know the Bible is true? Answer

How can the Bible be infallible if it was written by fallible humans? Answer

God’s Story Online home
Do you understand God’s Story? Take a multimedia journey through the Bible, from Creation to eternity. Hear and read an exciting summary of the Bible’s most important records, in chronological order.

About Jesus Christ

How did Jesus Christ die? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death andResurrection
About JESUS CHRIST—Answers to frequently-asked-questions

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
What is the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Answers for skeptics. Plus carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.

Miracles

MIRACLES—Has science disproved the miracles associated with Jesus Christ? Answer

Miracles, including list of biblical miracles

New covenant

What is so NEW about the New Testament?

Why was Christ’s New Covenant viewed as a threat by some Jews?

Other key people

Barabbas

Caiaphas

Herod Antipas

John

Joseph

Judas / suicide

Lazarus

Mary, mother of Jesus

Mary Magdelene

Matthew

Nicodemus

Pontius Pilate

Simon Peter

Simon

Thomas

Satan (edited out of the film)

About Roman Catholicism

about Roman Catholicism

Is sola Scriptura a biblical or a man-made concept? (Traditions vs. Scripture alone)

QUIZ—Catholicism and Protestantism.
Do you think like a Protestant or a Catholic?

Featuring: Diogo Morgado … Jesus Christ
Darwin Shaw … Simon Peter
Roma Downey … the Virgin Mary
Greg Hicks … Pontius Pilate
Sebastian Knapp … John
Amber Rose Revah … Mary Magdalene
Adrian Schiller … Caiaphas
Andrew Brooke … Antonius
Louise Delamere … Claudia
Said Bey … Matthew
Matthew Gravelle … Thomas
Simon Kunz … Nicodemus
Joe Wredden … Judas
Fraser Ayres … Barabbas
Paul Marc Davis … Simon
Joe Coen … Joseph
Leila Mimmack … Young Mary
Rick Bacon … Herod Antipas
Anas Cherin … Lazarus
Director: Christopher Spencer
Producer: Hearst Entertainment Productions
LightWorkers Media
Roma Downey … executive producer
Mark Burnett … producer
Richard Bedser … producer
Eduardo Verástegui … executive producer
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“I am John, and I was one of his [Jesus’] followers. After what I had seen, how could I not be?” And so begins the account of Jesus Christ “The Son of God.” From his miraculously foretold coming centuries earlier to his birth in an obscure village, not among the rich and powerful, but among the poor, he was both God and one of us at the same time.

John narrates a montage of scenes depicting the world since God’s creation and his reaching out to us through the forefathers of faith, including Noah, Abraham and Moses before showing us Jesus, played reverently and with a very human charm by Diogo Morgado, as he begins his ministry. After he calls his first disciple Peter (Darwin Shaw), it is mentioned briefly that he selected the rest of the twelve almost as though Peter was the only one that mattered, making it clear that this disciple will be ‘center stage’ for the rest of the film.

The religious elite, perceiving Jesus to be a threat to their authority over the people, begin to challenge him at every turn, while a nonplussed Jesus continues to do all that the prophets of old foretold that the savior, the Messiah would one day come to do:

“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:5).

While the language is clean throughout, and there is no overt sexual imagery, aside from a brief flashback to Adam and Eve, and this only from the shoulders up (nudity implied), the strongest visuals were in the violence category. Roman soldiers are seen beating the populace and killing with swords (mostly bloodless) and only once did you see, in silhouette form, a sword enter and leave a man, accompanied by blood splattering.

Pontius Pilate, sparing gladiator style, appears to have killed his opponent, Peter is seen slicing the ear off a man assisting in the arrest of Jesus, and a man hangs himself. A lamb’s throat is slit for a Passover sacrifice, and blood is shown. A child is crushed by an overturned cart, and there is, of course, the beatings, torture and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Jesus is beaten by fists, slapped, spat upon, whipped, forced to wear a crown made of thorns and finally nailed, through his hands and feet, to the very cross he carried for us, his very creation. Parents should definitely exercise caution with regards to small children.

That being said, the last third of the movie focusing on Jesus’ death and resurrection are the most riveting and moving parts of the movie. The rest of the film is less so, and I think this is for several very evident reasons.

First, many of scenes are done vignette style, no more than a few minutes in length. The miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead could not have been more than 3 minutes in length before it faded to black, a technique used often and usually without fanfare or John’s narration, which was sorely missed at times.

Second, for a movie largely on the ministry of Jesus Christ it surprisingly featured only a few of the many miracles he actually performed, and those that were contained (i.e., feeding of the 5,000, resurrection of Lazarus, walking on water, healing of the ear Peter cut off) were often too brief to be fully appreciated.

Third, an inordinate amount of artistic license was used throughout the production such as the misattribution of lines from one person to the next. This is especially hard to rationalize when things Jesus clearly said are instead delivered by a disciple or on another occasion a clandestine supporter of Jesus, the Pharisee Nicodemus (Simon Kunz), is seen verbally accosting Jesus in public when actually others had done the challenging. Then there are also many instances of misquotes, such as when the film has Jesus saying, “I am the way and the truth and the Love” when it actually is “…and the life” (John 14:6). There are no interpretations of the Bible that can account for these errors.

Lastly, there is dialog that both average believers and Biblical scholars would be hard pressed to believe—Jesus saying John the Baptist was the “greatest teacher” he ever knew, Nicodemus calling Jesus “clever” in a condescending way, a fellow disciple asking Peter where he was after the arrest, since he was supposed to be the “rock” or, to mention just one more, when John closes the film by saying that “…with Peter as our leader” they went out to the whole world.

Perhaps these issues are mainly the concern of Christians who are intimately familiar with the Scriptures, but I can’t help but think that anyone being exposed to the Gospels for the first time through this film may get confused by such inconsistencies once they dive into the true, and proven infallible WORD of God, and there was no need for this.

A case can be made that “The Son of God,” especially during the final act, at the very least makes us mindful for a little while of worthier things (Philippians 4:8), but, unfortunately, the film feels out of place in a theater and is better suited to the small screen. Its fast and loose treatment of the source material may work well with those unfamiliar with the Gospel, but seasoned Christians may feel uncomfortable with both its numerous inaccuracies and factual errors, and come away asking themselves why the producers felt they needed to improve on the truth. I know I did.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor


THEOLOGICAL REVIEW from ChristianAnswers team member Answers In Genesis

Reviewed by: Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning” (John 1:1–2). These words open John’s Gospel. By opening the feature film “Son of God” also with these words,1 filmmakers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey declare their intent to portray the life of the eternally existent Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Fully God, the Son of God became fully man. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), the Apostle John goes on to tell us in the film. The opening scenes rightly review the truth that the Son of God was busy in the affairs of man throughout the Old Testament. By coming into the world as a human being, Jesus Christ became the ultimate way in which God the Father communicated His love to mankind (John 3:16; Hebrews 1:1–2).

Sadly, however, after this powerful beginning, the film fails to ever make it clear just why Jesus came and why He died.

Bible “Stories”

Gentle Jesus meek and mild
Here’s a Bible story for your little child.

Here I make a play on the Charles Wesley hymn, which connects the character of Jesus to His identity as the Lamb of God, who according to John 1:29 takes away the sin of the world, and to His transforming grace. This movie shows us the meek and mild Jesus, but fails to make the connection to sin, repentance, and salvation.

To many people, the word “story” implies “fairy tale,” but the Bible is not a book of fairy tales, and its historical accounts should never be presented as such. Bible “stories”—by which we mean literary adaptations of biblical history—are fine insofar as they portray the people and events described in the Bible as real and historical; this film does that. The best Bible “stories” do not alter biblical facts; unfortunately, this one does present some facts inaccurately, though not much more than most such films. But Bible “stories” fall short when they selectively leave out the parts of the biblical history that carry the Bible’s theological message, the essential truths and teachings—most unfortunately, that describes this rather Pollyanna-version of the life of Christ.

Each family has to decide how much dramatic license it is willing to tolerate in a “Bible movie.” Historical inaccuracies, though few, range from the minor to the major. One significant error involves cinematic Peter’s immediate insight as to the nature of Christ’s Resurrection as not only a “disappearing body” but a Resurrection to a life that would make Him ever-present with His followers. The real Peter and John, finding the tomb empty (John 20:3–10), believed the body was gone, but remained somewhat confused (John 20:9) until Jesus later surprised them by appearing to them in a locked room. The cinematic Peter, however, instantly knows that the empty tomb means Jesus is not merely gone but instead exclaims, “He’s back!” Then rushing to the helm of apostolic leadership—rather than awaiting personal encounters with the risen Lord as the Bible records—cinematic Peter, by administering the Lord’s supper (“This is My body… this is My blood”) to his fellow disciples, almost magically conjures Jesus’ first appearance to them.

Historically accurate aspects of “Son of God” include its portrayal of the fact that the Jewish people of the time wanted a political-military messianic figure. Most failed to understand the sort of Messiah God had sent them. This historical misunderstanding shows itself clearly after the feeding of the 5,000 when, having eaten the miraculously provided meal, the crowd clamored to make Him king (John 6:15). But while the failure of both the people and the Jewish leaders to be satisfied with God’s Messiah is depicted, the fact that Jesus Christ came to save people from theirs sins—sins that otherwise would doom every one of us to hell for eternity—is missing as much in the film as in the miniseries that aired last year.

Gaps in the Gospel

Largely cobbled together from The Bible miniseries that showed in six parts on the History Channel last year, “Son of God,” as a full-length feature film focusing just on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, had the opportunity to make the message of the gospel clearer, but really added nothing that would do so. Thus Son of God’s main weakness is not so much the dramatic license it takes with the actual history; the film’s weakness is in what is missing—the gospel.

If the producers only wished to film a good story, that would have been okay. After all, the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ really make a wonderful narrative, made all the more wonderful because it is true. But the producers have declared their wish that the movie and the miniseries would reach many people with the Word of God. Films can do that, and—while I hope this one does—I fear that Biblically illiterate viewers will see nothing in the movie to help them understand how Jesus’ death should benefit them. Though grossing well at the box office, it remains nothing more than a fairly incomplete depiction of Christ as a happy, smiling, wandering miracle worker that made some downtrodden people feel good about themselves.

By comparison, the 1979 “Jesus” film set out to film a life of Christ strictly from the Gospel of Luke. That film retained the gospel message and included a narration at the end to make sure viewers understood what the death and Resurrection of Jesus had to do with their eternal destiny. As a result, the “Jesus” film, distributed through the Jesus Film Project, continues today to be a valuable tool in the hands of missionaries around the world.

“Son of God”, by contrast, left me wondering if I would have had a clue why the Son of God bothered to get born into this world or why He died on the Cross if I had not already learned from the Bible that I am a sinner and been saved by repenting and trusting in the grace made available to me because Jesus carried my sin and guilt to the Cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As with The Bible miniseries, there are some gaps in the gospel message of “Son of God”. We hear that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” but we don’t learn that “no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus announces at the Last Supper, “This is My body … This is My blood,” and He commands them to repeat these actions in remembrance of Him (1 Corinthians 11:25–26). However, the filmed dialog leaves out the reason His blood was about to be shed: “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28, emphasis added). Thus the fact that Jesus Christ’s shed blood provides the only way (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5–6) to satisfy justice, atone for sin, and reconcile us to God (Romans 5:8–11; 2 Corinthians 5:18) will not be clear to movie-goers who are not already familiar with the gospel. Instead of going to the Bible, a Bible-believing friend, or Bible-teaching church to find out the whole truth, they may simply just wonder why this sort of Jesus is such a big deal and why the film claims He has changed the world.

Power to Change Lives

Truly, I cannot find fault with a movie for simply leaving out some of the things that Jesus did, but I find great fault with this film because its omissions distort the central purpose of Christ in coming into the world. The Bible itself records only a selection of teaching and events, as John 21:25 clearly states, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” But the teachings, miracles, and events recorded in each Gospel account in the Bible present a complete picture of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior, full of both grace and truth (John 1:14) about how sinful each person is and how much in need of redemption. The Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, also writes in his Gospel, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30–31). But the Gospel accounts in the Bible nevertheless do present a balanced account of Jesus’s life, teachings, and post-Resurrection appearances.

But we must surely find fault when a film about the Son of God fails to drive home His mission of coming to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:9–10), calling them to repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:14–15). Those who see this film with their unbelieving friends need to be prepared to use the Bible to fill in the gaps in the anemic representation of the gospel and correct the many errors if they wish to use the film to make an eternal difference.

Footnote

  1. The opening narration begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. He was there in Paradise with Adam and Eve. He was there with Noah in the great Flood…” and goes on to note the presence of the Son of God with Abraham, Moses, and David. The opening narration connects the Old Testament to the Incarnation of Jesus, saying, “In the struggle for the Promised Land He was always by our side. He was the Light shining in the darkness. Then He came into the world. ‘A star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel’ [quoting from the prophecy in Numbers 24:17]. ‘The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us’ [from John 1:14].”

ADDITIONAL REVIEW OF BIBLICAL ACCURACY AND THEOLOGY, plus comments about its promotion by some Christian leaders

by Christian speaker Justin Peters

This review will pertain to matters of historical and theological biblical accuracy. I have seen the movie once and did my best to take notes on as much as I possibly could. What follows is not—by a long shot—a comprehensive list of the problems with “Son of God” but does hit some of the more egregious ones.

more »

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments

Editor’s Note: The belief system of the movie’s producers Roma Downey and husband Mark Burnett is Roman Catholicism and New Age.

References:

• Downey: “We’re members of Our Lady of Malibu… I began my lifelong devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. …I have a wonderful loving relationship with Mary as part of my daily prayer routine.…” —Peggy Bowes, “Angels, Smiles, and Saints: An Interview With Roma Downey,” Catholic Lane (November 3, 2011).

• Roma Downey “graduated from the University of Santa Monica [a private school founded by New Age author Roger Delano Hinkins, aka John-Roger Hinkins] with a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology” —Patricia Harty, “What Are You Like? Roma Downey,” Irish America (October/November 2013). The school is part of the MSIA (Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness) (see Christian Research Institute statement about MSIA).

• Downey enthusiastically endorsed the school president’s (H. Ronald Hulnick) book Loyalty To Your Soul: The Heart of Spiritual Psychology.

• Downey collaborated with psychic medium John Edward (Book: Practical Praying: Using the Rosary to Enhance Your Life, John Edward—accompanied by CD featuring Roma Downey explaining and demonstrating rosary prayer—Google search). She also appeared on his “Crossing Over” TV seance show to talk to her dead mother through Edward (first broadcast April 9, 2002).

• Downey is one Ireland’s wealthiest people with £222-million, according to the Belfast Telegraph news organization (March 12, 2013).


Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Why does a film about Jesus made by Christians take so many liberties, contain so many inaccuracies and deviations from the Bible? Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have a major film about Jesus. Excellent acting, music, and production. This is from 2013 television series, “The Bible,” based on the Bible. While this film portrays a summary of Jesus” life and ministry, almost every scene has some blatant inaccuracy that jumps out to people familiar with the New Testament.

Understanding they had a limited timeslot and had to select major events only, but why did they re-write dialog and important conversations recorded in the Bible? Why alter events? Just a few out of many examples:

• Why were there no guards at Jesus” tomb?
• Why does Jesus walk through an open door to the apostles in the upper room?
• Why is Judas the only disciple emphasized to be Jewish… and portrayed as an argumentative Pharisee? Jesus and all the apostles were Jewish.
• Why does Jesus say he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Love”?
• Why does Jesus go into Lazarus” tomb alone with Mary instead of publicly praying and calling Lazarus to come out?
• Why does the High Priest, Caiaphus, say something made up rather than “It is better that one man die…”
• Why did Jesus simply disappear from the Mount of Olives instead of ascending?

If they had to be selective, why is so much film time spent and embellishments made on one line events, such as Pilate’s wife’s dream, yet miracles and teachings of Jesus left out (but clearly filmed, as shown in the little box alongside the credits).

Very puzzling. Generally a good depiction, and a great opportunity for believers to invite unbelievers. But especially because of that, throughout the film I kept asking myself, “Why did they change that… and that… and that?” Just because it is a film about Christ made by Christians are we not to say anything? If this film were faithfully, completely Biblically accurate, it would be excellent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—I have to agree with Tori above. There were many liberties taken with the story. While not blasphemous or heretic, the choices were odd and a few politically correct. Caiaphas and Judas are softened, Nicodemous is largely a villain, the resurrection scenes are again neglected and thin. Having said this the film is generally well made. Making the entire ministry of Jesus into a 2 hour long movie obviously leaves holes which is why I prefer specific incidents in Jesus' life for a film, but overall I do give it a positive review.

Still be aware of inaccuracies and liberties (e.g., Jesus was not convicted at the initial trial of Caiaphas, that is why he was taken to Pilate, who was no fool).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—David C, age 46 (USA)
Positive—I loved it. Yes, they take liberties like every other movie about the Bible. I enjoyed the acting and the sincerity of the cast. God bless Roma Downey and Mark Burnett for bringing it to the big screen. The more films about Christ the better. I hope it makes “The Passion…” style money and scares the secularists in Hollywood.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Keith Chandler, age 35 (USA)
Positive—I do not quite understand all this murmuring about “The Son of God.” Yes, there are direct passages that are quoted differently, but we must be mindful that this film is made for a modern audience. Roma Downey and her husband are trying to make the Gospel understandable to people of this century. With people not being properly educated in theology or classical learning, there are many concepts that will fly right over their heads.

Granted, I do think that Jesus saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the love,” was taking a liberty, but can’t you make the claim that to have life you must have love? Wasn’t it God’s love that sent Jesus Christ to save us from the second death (hell)? Wasn’t it the Father’s love that created (breathed life) into Adam and Eve in the Eden? Love is instrinc with life. You cannot live in the proper sense without love. You can exist, like the monkeys and other animals, but with love you actually live. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jeffrey Gassler, age 25 (USA)
Positive—I just saw this movie today. I have to ask, why are people blasting this movie? I look down at all the negative and even non-view comments, and I have to wonder if we saw the same thing. Instead of taking shots at the faults, can we not point out the virtues of this movie? For one thing, when have you ever seen a movie made regularly that even mentions Jesus reverently much less portrays His life? Why can’t we rally behind a movie like this one?

As for the “inaccuracies” ok, so the movie reworded. The delivery may have been different, but is the message behind it not the same? Case in point, the woman caught in adultery. So, it’s not word for word the same, but is the message different? At least they keep to the spirit of the Word. Is that not laudable? Are we so legalistic that we have to take shots at a movie that portrays the life of the Savior and doesn’t contradict what is written? Do a few omitted words really make it a different gospel? more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeff, age 26 (USA)
Positive—After seeing “Son of God” I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. I went into the theater expecting to see a plethora of Biblical and Historical inaccuracies. However, I only witnessed a few concerning things. 1. The miracles came across more like magic tricks rather than the workings of the omnipotent God of the universe.

2. At the raising of Lazarus, Jesus goes into the tomb instead of standing outside and shouting “Lazarus, come forth!” more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Austin, age 25 (USA)
Positive—I found every aspect of this film to be consistent with the Bible. All Christians should see this. Roma Downey and her husband are not practicing catholics but attend a Pentecostal church in Los Angeles. I believe some negative attacks on this movie are unfounded and perhaps because of some bias against persons who were born into a different church. I did not see anything “new age” in this movie. Jesus states clearly to the Sanhedrin that he is the chosen one and “messiah”.

The miracles of Jesus are shown. I don’t know any “New Agers” who believe in Jesus as the chosen messiah. Nor do I know any “New Agers” who believe that the miracles of Jesus are historically correct. This movie makes clear that the miracles of Jesus were historically correct.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jerome, age 29 (USA)
Positive—This movie was a very positive experience for me. Maybe it wasn’t Biblically correct or maybe Jesus was portrayed as too handsome, but for me Jesus was exactly as I imagined. I grew up Catholic, and the God I grew up with was a punishing, vengeful God. Today I have a caring and loving God who walks with me on this journey of of life. I know that He is always with me and all I have to do is pray to Him. This movie gave me a greater awareness of the love of God.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Joyce, age 69 (USA)
Positive—As a “seasoned” Christian, I watched this video expecting to be disappointed after reading all of the comments that have been posted. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought the direction, cinematography, and music were excellent. Biblically speaking, I listened with headphones and watched very closely for the quote, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” And He clearly says “life,” not “love”. After seeing the empty tomb, Peter repeats the phrase, reminding the disciples what He said, after which Jesus makes His dramatic reappearance to them. The raising of Lazarus was not Biblically correct, but it didn’t bother me. It was still portrayed well.

Also, the guarded tomb is only reported in Matthew, so unnecessary for Biblical accuracy, IMHO. One could pick this apart for a few Biblical errors, but I think the overall Jesus story comes through clearly. All of the acting was good. I loved the way Peter’s betrayal was staged, and John’s final scene with Jesus was very moving. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeff Leslie, age 57 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Made in a similar style as “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson but lacks some very important biblical true facts. Perhaps the most critical subject that the movie left out is the last part of the verse of John 14:6 when Christ himself says: I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME. The writer was likely applying some political correctness to the film BUT you can’t be politically correct when you are dealing with the word of God. You can't pick and choose what you like or you think might offend the non-believer.

I still think it’s good to remember the inmense sacrifice that God in person had to endured in His love for us by being slain and shedding His blood on that cross for our salvation. Worth seing it with the understanding of the Hollywood taste and lack of important biblical information and writting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Alex P, age 60 (USA)
Neutral—I just wanted to say, if you saw the History Channel series of the Bible, then you saw “The Son of God.” They just deleted parts to get it down to two hours.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Karen, age 47 (USA)
Neutral—I agree with the other comments made—why say, “Nothing good comes from Galilee” instead of the accurate text “Nothing good comes from Nazareth”—why bother changing it? Overall, it is good to have a movie “out there” about Jesus, but I’m disappointed in the inaccuracies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Theresa, age 43 (USA)
Neutral—Positives—Pilate and Caiaphas were excellent. According to Josephus, Pilate was a brute and the movie showed him as such. The movie shows the conflict Caiaphas had when having to consider Pilate’s response to unrest. —Jesus was not fantastic, but was at least believable, especially during the trial and crucifixion.

Negatives • Liberties taken with the gospel readings. The woman caught in adultery and the raising of Lazarus being the prime examples. I note that all 3 times that I heard John 14:6 I heard “life” not “love” as other people have said. • Horrible computer graphics of Jerusalem (distance shots). You definitely knew you were looking at something faked. • Calling of Peter without Andrew, James, and John. Skipping “Get away from me Lord for I am a sinful man”. • Having only 10 or so people judging Jesus. The Sanhedrin wasn’t that small.

Other: None should complain too much regarding the lack of episodes during Jesus” ministry. A 2 hour movie doesn’t have the same amount of time to deal with things as does a Jesus of Nazareth miniseries.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—- Guy, age 45 (USA)
Negative
Negative—In the movie, Jesus picks up a rock as if he is going to stone the woman caught in adultery brought to him, then turns to the crowd and says, “I will give my rock to whoever SAYS he has never sinned.” Seriously. People that were there wrote testimonies of what they witnessed, and they said Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

In this movie, no angel greets Mary to declare the miracle, no angels announce the Messiah's birth to the shepherds, no angels at the tomb ask Mary why she looks for the living among the dead and proclaims that He is risen. Made me think of when Paul (in Galations 1:6-12) strongly warned about those who would pervert the gospel of Christ and warned about men who would teach another gospel. When asked about the signs and times of his return, his (second) coming (in Matthew 24) Jesus answered, Take heed that no man deceive you.

With Scripture twisted, and so little in this movie that would persuade people that Jesus is the Son of God, I wondered what was the real reason that they made it the way they did.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Lyn, age 54 (USA)
Negative—I agree with the reviewers who have stated some of the inaccuracies with Scripture in this latest cinematic incarnation of our Lord and Savior. I wasn’t planning on seeing this film, seeing that the mini-series “The Bible” took so many liberties with Holy Writ, but I thought, “It’s a Christian film, and it’s good to support it.”

The one scene I did like was when the Jews protested unto Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judea, that he had used the Temple money to bring a stream of water to Jerusalem, and he ordered his guards to conceal daggers underneath their clothing, and at a given signal, a massacre ensued. That was taken out of Antiquities of the Jews, written by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived from 37 A.D - 100 A.D. Even that scene, though, was badly done, in my opinion.

And the key verse was taken from an inferior translation of the Bible. The correct reading is “For God so loveth the world, that He hath given His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John 3:16.

The word begotten is critical to the understanding of the text, and is taken from the Greek word monogenes, which has 2 meanings, which you can look up on sny search engine, and it will guide you to an appropriate website.

To the inaccuracies the reviewers listed, I must add that Jesus’ baptism was only partially shown, and the Holy Ghost coming on Him in the form of a dove was omitted.

One more thing, if I may: John didn’t look burned when he was on the island of Patmos. History records that John was boiled alive in oil during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, but he survived, and was exiled to the island of Patmos. He was then freed in 97 A.D. and died in Ephesus in 99 A.D.

I do NOT recommend this film version of Jesus’ life. However, if it does get people to actually read the Bible, all well and good. Laud be unto the Father, who liveth forever and ever. Amen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 3
—D, age 28 (USA)
Negative—You know the saying: if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Well that’s what I think about the producers and directors of this movie. So many Christian movies made within the last twenty years cannot compete with secular moviemaking, either in budget, cinematography and so forth and that’s pretty sad. Besides “The Passion of The Christ,” which was a fantastic gut wrenching rendition of our Lord’s passion, most Christian movies are at best for viewing in Hallmark channel or the such. I am so very disappointed with the movie “Son of God,” and at so many levels, that I almost feel anger. I mean, I wanted so bad to be supportive of this movie, but I certainly cannot recommend it.

1. The movie feels like a television movie with the chopping scenes to allow for commercials.

2. The errors are numerous, from misquoting the Bible to representing Thomas as a blue eyed almost shaved blond hair, to having the crowd dressed with Arab turbans…

3. For a movie portraying the life of Jesus, many crucial moments of His ministry were absent, such as when the Holy Spirit descended on Him after being baptized, or when ascending to Heaven after giving the Great Commission…

A movie trying to capture the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should be done with love and passion, instead of using it as an additional venue to make money from something originally made for television.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Maria-rosa, age 58 (USA)
Negative—Apart from the items mentioned in the above article, I noticed that the actor who played Jesus had a look of amazement that the miracle actually happend. Jesus had no doubt that the miracles He preformed would happen; He has a direct communion with the Father. “I and the Father are one.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Deborah, age 59 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I haven’t seen the film, nor do I have any intentions to. Any Bible-based movie or television program produced by Hollywood will never be accurate. Let’s remember that the Bible tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The Bible is perfectly accurate, and if anyone tries distorting it, they shall not go unpunished.
—Andre Wallace, age 38 (USA)
Negative—People need to be aware that when they see a movie based on Christianity, they need to know what denomination or belief that movie was made by. Because, if not, seeing a movie like this can mess up your current view. As it is pointed out near the top: “The belief system of the movie’s producers Roma Downey and husband Mark Burnett is Roman Catholicism and New Age.” This is why I won’t see it or anything she makes. Her denomination clashes with my Non-Denominational view. Just as I did not see “The Passion…” because of it was filmed under a different belief.

Thus the movie was not totally accurate compared to my beliefs of what happened according to the Bible. So please be sure you know these things before you go see a movie just because it mentions it’s based on something from the Bible.
—Matt, age 32 (USA)
— I would like to clear up a few things as to this business about Roma Downey.(I am not going to defend her). I am a Catholic (loud and proud), and I am here to tell you that the Catholic Church condemns New Age stuff. So it is not right to take part in anything New Agey. If she’s doing that, than maybe that’s what got in the way when making this movie (and not a very good study of the Bible evidently).

As a Catholic, I apologize for the ways in which the movie erred, and ask that you please not allow it to tarnish your view of us. If you want a accurate view on Christ’s life, (and quite a moving one, too) I highly suggest the Passion. I know it’s made by yet another Catholic, but thousands of Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike have greatly enjoyed it. May God bless you and keep you.
—Rosey, age 18 (USA)
Negative—Did anyone see the interview with Roma Downey and two other (I think were her husband and the man who played Jesus)? They were asked simple trivia questions during the interview. One question was “What is the name of the first book in the Bible” and neither one of them knew the answer.
—Chris, age 47 (USA)

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